Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Session 72 18-19/1/1483 Meet the Deities, & Jarl Borgrim Attacks - Fall of Paelias

18/1/1483 DR
PCs settle down to sleep in the border tower. Lirael and Dunstan dream they are walking in spring sunshine by the Unicorn Run river; they are joined by Mielikki and Moradin the Soul-Forger. Mielikki tells them that Ashara and the wizards of the Fiery Spire are working to channel the power of the Green Regent through the Spire, protecting the central Gray Vale from Clenderi's unnatural cold. The gods tell them that the Gray Vale needs a leader - a King of Restored Ammarindar, per Moradin - but they need to choose who that leader should be. Moradin favours Dunstan, Mielikki favours Lirael, but neither will impose a choice. The heroes ask if there cannot be joint monarchs - Moradin says only if they get married!

They are wakened by Jorah & Paelias for the changing of the watch. Lirael hears a faint sound on the wind - the giants are coming! A strong force of giants is approaching from upriver, including five frost giant warriors led by their Jarl Borgrim, and a dozen hill and stone giant minions.
A fierce battle rages; Jarl Borgrim falls, but then Paelias falls too, and is dispatched by a brutal greataxe strike. Two stone giants retreat 'to get more rocks'. Eventually the last surviving frost giant warriors flee - one elderly giant succumbs to his arrow wounds from Lirael, one escapes back towards Llorkh. Paelias' body is put in the Bag of Holding.

19/1/1483 DR
PCs travel west through the night to Orlbar on Phantom Steeds, arriving around 3am. The priests of the Light of the Sun cast Gentle Repose on Paelias. Rest to 9am and consult with Mistress Emesha, leader of the Light of the Sun and now the de facto local ruler - on the situation at Orlbar, which is being picketed by Remorhaz and giant scouts. Emesha wants the armies of the Vale to gather and strike at the giants besieging Llorkh, catching them in a pincer movement.

Meet with Mielikki & Moradin - 800 each

Battle with the Giants
8 hill giants 750x8=6000
4 stone giants (2 retreated) 4150
5 frost giant warriors (1 escaped) 2800x5=14000
Jarl Borgrim 5600
29750/6.5=5409 each

Total 6209+143714 XP=149,923
175,000 XP for Level 21 - need 25,077

Jarl Borgrim had some considerable loot on him - a pouch of 610 large platinum pieces v 100gp each, ie worth 61000gp!), an Ammarindar-crafted mithril tiara set with diamonds v 15000gp, and a Spider Potion (Adventurer's Vault). The other dead giants had 800gp on them.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Session 71 RL20 17-18/1/1483 The Remorhaz & the Tower

At Heartford the group are joined by Sir Jorah and then by Sir Harvarr Quortath and his retainers. Harvarr's sons were among the trainee paladins of Torm who fell at Erstlin. Arya Sends to Conn, leader of the Tigerclaw, who promises to raise his army and rendezvous at Heartford in two days (19/1).

18/1/1483: Learning that Llorkh is under assault by a giant army (Sending Esme > Lirael) and that the city may only have three hours, the group travel south-east towards Orlbar to recruit Clerics of the Light of the Sun, using Phantom Steeds summoned by Arya. On the snowy plain north-west of Orlbar the party are ambushed by a Remorhaz beneath the snow. The beast kills Harvarr's two men; then badly wounded it is possessed by the spirit of Clenderi the Frost Witch; she has it coup-de-gras Boulder as he lies wounded, slaying him before Jareth can finish it.
Harvarr returns north-west to Heartford to rendezvous with the Tigerclaws, while the others reach Orlbar, consulting with Mistress Emesha (leader of the Light of the Sun Amaunite order) and Toruvas the Eladrin, now the last of Valeris' old adventuring company. They head east along the river with two female Amaunite Clerics, human and half-elf.
Nearing the watch tower that guards Valeris' eastern frontier, they see a blue glow and find it transformed into a nexus to the feywild source of the enchanted cold. They defeat two frost giants - a warrior and an ice mistress. Arya investigates the nexus, determines that it is linked to others and to a central source. With great difficulty she manages to close it down, though not before attracting the attention of Clenderi:
"I'll get you and your little azer too!"
The group decide to rest in the now warming tower. That night they get another Sending from Esme - the giant assault has been repulsed, and somehow Kitana has survived yet again.

Sendings, summon Konn etc: 600 each
Remorhaz (Lvl 21 elite): 6400
Frost giant warrior (Lvl 20): 2800
Frost giant ice mistress (Lvl 22): 4150
Total combat xp: 13350/3.5=3814 each
Shut down the ice tower vortex: 1600 each
Total: 6014+137,700=  143714 XP
143,000 XP for Level 20
175,000 XP for Level 21

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Session 70 16-17/1/1483: The Bridge at Heartford

Photo: It's about to get cold in here.

Photo: Giants!

Photo: Paelias is a wee bit surrounded...

Party bring Valeris' body to Treona at Castle deTrevani, but as Treona tries to Raise her she becomes sheened in icy frost. The group intervene to save her from the enchantment.

Next day the group head east to Heartford, where they hold the bridge against a giant force that has sacked Erstlin, destroyed the Seminary of Torm, and killed many priests and paladins including Orien Black.

Investigations, helping Treona: 1600 XP each

Battle at the Bridge
8 hill giant smasher minions: 600x8=4800
4 stone giant minions: 1038x4=4152
4 frost giants: 1600x4=6400
frost giant ice master (sub-chief): 4150
Total: 19502/6=3250 each

Total: 4850+132850 = 137,700 XP
143,000 XP for Level 20

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Session 69 15-16/1/1483: Winter for Valeris

15/1/1483 DR
Jareth & Arya are drinking in the Green Regent. Rumour has it that frost giants are attacking the eastern Gray Vale. A messenger asks them to attend on Lady Moonfire, who is being visited by Queen Valeris of Orlbar. They are joined by Dunstan. Valeris tells them that frost giants descending from the Graypeaks have conquered the territory of the Mountain King. Stone Cultists opened the gates of Ogremouth to the giants. Valeris is worried that the giants may be moving on Orlbar. Jareth wants a reward to help out.

16/1/1483 DR
Dunstan, Jareth, Arya, Cerdic, and Boulder ride east with Valeris and four of her Royal Guards on the road from Loudwater along the south bank of the Grayflow. It is cold and snowy. South-west of Orlbar the Grayflow freezes. Arya senses powerful Fey magic. Then frost giants and a huge mammoth are spotted through the snow, crossing south across the frozen river, and attack. In the fighting the giants are defeated, but Valeris and her men are killed.

Discussion with Moonfire & Valeris: lvl 16 minor, +350 XP each
5 frost giants lvl 17 brute XP 1600x5=8000
1 Nyfellar mammoth lvl 20 brute XP 2800
Total: 10800/4=2700+350=3050 XP each
3050+129800=  132850 XP
143,000 XP for Level 20

Monday, 9 June 2014

Session 68 17/10/1482-M1 1483 DR: Fall of the Fire Giants

17/10/1482 to M1 1483 DR:
Party & Azers defeat King Snurre and loot his treasury.
Pealias catches Taz'zt, drow emissary of Ched Nasad. He says he was sent by his liege Eclavadra to secure an alliance with the fire giants against the threat of Orcus. Ched Nasad is allied with Netheril. 120411 XP
143,000 XP for Level 20
Azers secure the Halls and capture Queen Frumpy.
Azer rebellion liberates their people and drives the Fire Giants from the Endless Caverns.
Arya reunites with a joyful Rylgoth the Azer, her first priest. He says he worships not what she is, but what she is destined to become.
Heroes bring Taz'zt to Lady Moonfire; she interrogates him and establishes that Ched Nasad is weak, and fears being destroyed as Phaervorul was.
Halvath the Green Regent consults with Mielikki. She tells him that the Shadovar Empire of Netheril is in grave danger, and this may ultimately threaten the Vale.
As the first snows of winter are falling, Jareth and Pealias travel west to Daggerford and take ship south to Baldur's Gate, city of the Twenty Thousand Flaming Fists, where Jareth consults with the High Priest of Tempus, known as the Arch Templar. The Arch Templar tells him that a true follower of Tempus obeys the Rules of War, including the granting of quarter to honourable foes.
By the time they return to the Gray Vale in M1 1483 DR the snow is more than two feet deep, and it is bitterly cold...

Battle with Snurre: 30,000/6= 5,000 XP each
Free the Azers - Level 19 Major Quest - 2,400 XP each
Interrogate Taz'zt, Drow Emissary of Ched Nasad - 400 XP each
Seize King Snurre's Treasure - 1,200 XP each
Jareth gains enlightenment from the High Priest of Tempus at Baldur's gate - 400 XP each
Total: 9400 + 120400 = 129800 XP
143,000 XP for Level 20

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Session 67: 16-17/10/1482 Against the Giants!

16/10/1482 DR The day after Maarth's defeat, Priest Rylgoth of the Azers contacts his 'goddess' Arya, Primordial of Lightning - the Azer Revolution has begun! As expected, most of the fire giant army has descended to the mines to quell the rebellion, while King Snurre directs the war effort from his fortress-throne. Now is the time to strike! Rylgoth's brother Valgoth and a squad of Azer rebel warriors are moving to rendezvous with Arya & co between the Lake of Fire and the surface world, and guide them through the maze of volcanic tunnels between the Lake of Fire and the Halls of the Fire Giant King for the final confrontation...

17/10/1482 DR Forces are gathered, the group travels east to the Endless Caverns with ten guardsmen, leaving horses with the Rangers of the Nine, and descend into the depths. They meet the Azers led by Valgoth conversing amicably with Nolav the lich. Nolav tells them that Phaervorul is now under the control of a band of slaves led by a war troll, who have defeated the ghouls and remaining drow, captured Matron-Mother Urlvrain, and now rule the ruined city from the former Temple of Lolth.

Valgoth and the Azers pay homage to Arya, then he leads the expedition down to the Lake of Fire, and east for hours through volcanic tunnels, to the Gate of the Giant King. With difficulty they get the great obsidian doors open, and enter the Hall. A hidden Azer sounds a gong. King Snurre waits upon his throne...

Photo: The expeditionary force

Photo: Hiya, Nolav. How are you?

Photo: It is, indeed, a force. Hopefully to be reckoned with.

Photo: Fire Giants.

Photo: The Hell Hounds have been released

Photo: Ack!!!

Photo: Paelias' epic run to the lever


Session XP
Encounter with Nolav & the Azers, trek to Snurre's Hall: 600 XP each
Passing the Black Gate: 800 XP each
Tota: 1400+119011= 120411 XP
143,000 XP for Level 20

Dunstan is at -1 on d20 rolls until he has reached a milestone or taken 
an extended rest.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Session 66 RL19 15-16/10/1482 Maarth's Last Kill

Photo: Nasty ghouls gang up on Dunstan.
Photo: Dunstan!
Dunstan falls to the blade of Maarth, drow assassin.
M6-10 1482 DR: Pealias attempts to instruct Tammy in Ranger skills, especially Stealth - she's a somewhat indifferent pupil. At the new Greywood Manor Pealias meets Anaveth, the Silverstar of Selune sent by High Priestess Amathea to aid and advise him. Suspecting that Tammy may be jealous of the beautiful young woman, he introduces her diplomatically. Anaveth expresses interest in Tammy's art and sadness that her own talents do not compare; they seem to get on well. Talking later with Anaveth, Pealias speaks a little of his meeting with Selune, and his feeling that the Gray Vale will be of great importance in a coming conflict. Anaveth seems a little unsure, the Gray Vale seeming a quiet and peaceful backwater, while the great empires of Netheril and Thay clash in the east. Evil fights evil, and the West is at peace - so why are the omens so bad? But Pealias discovers there is a secret Anaveth will not reveal - Amathea instructed her not to unless she felt it absolutely necessary.

15/10/1482: Sir Jorah Blackthorn briefs Lirael, Dunstan & Pealias at Northwood Manor - the Southwood Goblins are encroaching on Rensard Manor and Valeris' southern dominions. Many fear an attack, some families have abandoned the area. A dove arrives from the Stronghold of the Nine with a message from Ranger Captain Quen Harrowleaf - something has been killing the Rangers watching over the Endless Caverns; five have been lost in three days. The first three had their faces eaten away, the killer was driven off before the last two could be mutilated.
Lirael & co ride west, reaching the Stronghold of the Nine a little before dusk to find the Rangers tense and worried. Harrowleaf is grateful for aid. Lirael sets a trap that evening where a drow footprint was spotted by the last killings, but the slayer does not fall into it; everyone rises weary the next day. 

16/10/1482: Lirael picks up the killer's trail by hand/claw markings on the walls, and tracks it into the Caverns to the dragons' graveyard. A figure appears atop the skull of Graxx Rekax - Maarth, Phaervorul Matron-Mother  Urlvrain's assassin, lost in the fighting and now a red-eyed ghoul thing.
As the heroes debate what to do, a dozen more ghouls sneak up on them and attack. Maarth, no longer a silent automaton, cackles about Orcus' power, and proves a deadly foe as he slits the throat of fallen Dunstan. But at last Pealias puts him down; Lirael shoots the last ghoul as it flees and the heroes are victorious. Pealias carries Dunstan's body back to Greywood Manor where they take a boat over the Grayflow and head upstream to Brownstone and the Temple of the Green Regent. Halvath calls back Dunstan's soul from the halls of Moradin; Dunstan feels the All-Father's hand on his shoulder, he is let him go with an admonition to restore Ammarindar.

12 abyssal ghoul hungerers: 500x12=6000
Maarth, drow ghoul assassin: 5600
Total: 11600/3=3866
Level 18 minor quest: End threat to Rangers of the Nine: +500
Total: 4366 + 114,545 = 118911 XP
Need 119,000 for 19th level
Pealias/Anaveth Roleplay Bonus: +100 = 119011
LEVEL 19 Reached
143,000 for Level 20

Dunstan is at -1 on d20 rolls until he has reached three milestones or taken three extended rests.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Events 1481-1482 DR

1481 DR

M8 – Word from Elturgard: The Twelve Peers of Elturel, a cadre of twelve Amaunite, Bahamite & Tormite Clerics & Paladins, all High Paragons, volunteered to investigate what lies within Fort Morninglord. One, Val Carlsen of the Morninglord, returned, to report that in the bowels of the Fort they were attacked by hundreds of undead, surrounding what appeared to be a Lich’s Phylactery. Two men fell before the undead were vanquished. Carlsen stood guard while the other nine Peers approached the Phylactery – and vanished. They did not re-appear. With more undead approaching, Carlsen fought his way out to report back.  Markings on the Phylactery identify the Lich as Aumvor of Netheril.  King Pyvim ordered the Fort re-sealed and the wards strengthened.

M9 - At the behest of Queen Esmerelda of Llorkh, several bands of mercenary goblinoids from Kiris Dahn and Korzzbad have been aiding Lord Boris of Secomber in his campaign against the Urshani Worg-rider hobgoblins of the High Moor. Secomber has little wealth, and it's rumoured that Lady Moonfire has been funding Boris, perhaps to draw away the Korzzbad goblins from her own frontier. The Urshani are well dug-in in their tunnels beneath the moors; progress is slow and losses heavy, but that suits all parties well enough, particularly the hobgoblin Warlord Delderosh, who soon grows fat on Loudwater gold.

M9 Dendry Nistral the Smith and Milla Strong the housekeep have been growing close. Dendry now asks Lirael permission to wed Milla. Lirael gives permission and the couple marry a few weeks later.

1482 DR  

M1  Sir Dolf Dragonheart and Baroness Amara deTrevani have a daughter, named Ashara Dragonheart after their friend,  the Genasi Ashara of Akanul. When the child turns twelve she will come to study under Ashara at the Fiery Spire.

M5 – The new Northwood Manor bee hives are generating lots of honey!

M5 – Marah, the wife of Sir Jorah Blackthorn’s younger brother Arren, gives birth to  a second child, a son named Aumvor Blackthorn.

M6 Several new/restored manors including Greywood (Pealias) and Azul Karak (Dunstan) have now been established along the north bank of the Grayflow. With the Gray Vale at peace and the land defended by mighty heroes, many colonists come to settle. Among the arrivals are dwarves of the Ironforge clan from far-off Cormyr, and Fangbreaker clan dwarves from the north and west. Also among the arrivals are devotees of Selune, including  Silverstars, and several Eladrin families from the Sword Coast. Among those who have come to the Gray Vale are Anaveth, a half-elven Paragon Silverstar of Selune sent by High Priestess Amathea of Waterdeep to serve the Eladrin hero Pealias, and the doughty warrior-smith Cerdic Ironforge, a cousin of Dunstan Ironforge from distant Cormyr.

M6 With the expansion of the Wardship, Lady Moonfire, the High Lord of Loudwater, formally invests Lady Lirael as Baroness, with the Wardship of the North as a new Barony, equivalent to deTrevani to the east. Lirael knights her vassals Sir Dunstan Ironforge and Sir Pealias as Knights of the Wardship of the North.

M9 Ser Kitana of Llorkh reports from Korzzbad to her Queen, Esmerelda. Ser Delderosh's campaign against the Urshani hobgoblins in the west, now in its second year, continues to go slowly. After initial heavy losses he adopted a more cautious approach, and has recently cleared out several Urshani lairs, taking the survivors for Korzzbad and killing those who won't yield. As long as Boris' gold (probably in fact mostly Lady Moonfire's gold) keeps flowing, Delderosh is happy to continue the campaign.
Of more possible concern, Yuan-ti merchants from Najara recently visited Korzzbad. They purchased all the human women taken at the sack of Rensard manor except for Delderosh's own concubine, and expressed great interest in acquiring more. Delderosh offered them hobgoblin females taken from the Urshani, but they were uninterested. Delderosh would dearly like to strike against the soft Loudwater territories to the north, but rightly fears Queen Esme and Bane. More prosaically he also doesn't want to lose the flow of Moonfire gold. Delderosh would like to know if some kind of trading arrangement could be set up; if not Loudwater then surely Llorkh or the Mountain King must have spare females to trade?

M10 As autumn settles upon the Gray Vale, Lirael receives a message by dove from the Stronghold of the Nine, the Graywood elven fortress near the Endless Caverns. Something has been stalking the Rangers of the Nine assigned to watch over the Endless Caverns; five Rangers have been lost in three days. Commander Harrowleaf begs for the aid of Lady Lirael and Pealias to track down the killer.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Session 65 24/6/1481 On the Bridge of Sighs

Following a trail of mindflayer ichor from the dwarven bastion, the heroes traverse down the side of a huge lightless cavern, to a stone bridge over a rushing stream far below. There they are attacked by the wounded mindflayers Vurin & Turin, and their Tanarukk allies - demon orcs! After a long and fierce battle that brings Jareth to the brink of death the mindlayers are slain, the Tanarukk defeated - one overawed Tanarukk surrenders and is sent on his way with a message - the lands east of the stone bridge belong to the humans!

2 Mindflayers lvl 18 elite - 8000
7 Tanarukk marauders lvl 17 - 1600x7=11200
2 Tanarukk steel warriors lvl 18 - 4000
Level 18 quest - end threat to Adakmi: +2000 each.
Total: 6218+ 108327 = 114,545 XP
Need 119,000 for 19th level

Friday, 9 May 2014

2014 Summer/Autumn Provisional Games Schedule

All games are Monday 7pm at Counting House.

12th, 19th

June - Lvl 19?
2nd, (9th), 16th, 23rd, 30th

July (weekly) - Lvl 19/20
7th, 14th, 21st, 28th

August (weekly 1st 2 Mondays) - Lvl 20
4th, 11th

September (no games)?

October (no games)

November (weekly) - Lvl 20/21?
3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th

December (weekly first 2 Mondays) - Lvl 22/23?
1st, 8th

Probably resuming fortnightly play from January 2015.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Session 64 24/6/1481 Return to the Hall of Echoing Screams

Receiving a message from Adakmi that the threat below is digging its way out, the heroes of Northwood Manor (Paelias Lirael Dunstan Jareth & Jorah) ride east rapidly, reaching Adakmi by nightfall. Glasur, his wife Freyja, and Graveskeeper Alturnus brief them - a militia man watching the entrance to the Splendarmorrn Vaults disappeared last night.

Entering the lower level of the Royal Vaults, the heroes encounter a drow priestess of Phaervorul, rescue the soldier, and battle three drider thralls controlled by a familiar pair of mindflayers...

Valeth V'riza, drow priestess thrall lvl 15 - 1200
3 drider fanglords including Ingarl lvl 14 - 3000
Vurin & Turin, Mindflayer Masterminds lvl 18 elite - 8000
Total: 12,200/4.5=2711 XP each.
Rescue Adakmi soldier, level 14 minor quest - +250 each
Total: 2961+105,366=108327 XP
Need 119,000 for 19th level

Monday, 24 March 2014

Session 63 21/6/1481 - Lirael's wedding, Elemental Chaos, & Shar comes for Quinn

Wedding Champagne.... Err, "Sparkling Wine"
Walking down the Aisle
"I will" she says.

Bye, Quinn
Quinn's Cairn
Wedding - 500 XP each (level 18 minor)
4 hellhounds - 2000
3 fire giants killed - 6000
2 fire giants fled - 4,000/2=2000
Princess Yrsa, fire giant forgecaller, killed - 2000
Total: 12000/6=2000 XP each
Moonfire & Arya Close Portal to Elemental Chaos - Level 18 Major Quest - 2000 XP each
Shar takes Quin Eventide back to the Shadowfell.
Total: 4500 XP each + 100866 = 105,366
Need 119,000 for 19th level

Monday, 10 March 2014

Session 62 RL18 - Squashing the Githyanki 19/6/1481 DR


GM: Given that 5 of you were nearly defeated by the first encounter, you can make a reasonable threat assessment that whatever's deeper in there is likely to be bad news. However Dunstan with his knowledge of dwarven crafting can tell that the lintel of the door you entered the well room by could be brought down, triggering a collapse that should block whatever evil lurks down there awhile, hopefully until after the wedding... 
You break the door lintel at Dunstan's instruction and make a hurried exit from the Hall of Echoing Screams as rocks fall behind you, leaving Adakmi with the lower vaults sealed off (for now) and taking the body of Jareth's fallen soldier for burial (he can't be Raised). Back in Northwood a couple days before the wedding, and the guests are due to start arriving tomorrow, when you get a message from Halvath the Green Regent asking if his old friends could help him deal with something - river merchants report evil-looking yellow humanoids spotted in the ruins of Zelbross, and one of Halvath's more senior Needles, Valdrin the Wanderer, assigned to scout the area is missing. Normally the Regent would send more Needles & Shadoweir to deal with a likely goblinoid incursion, but something gave Halvath a bad feeling about this. He made some consultations, and Curuvar the Brazen of Loudwater believes the creatures could be Githyanki, legendary 'star pirates' of considerable power, and that this could be a Githyanki scouting party preparing the way for an invasion! If so, they need to be dealt with right away.

19/6/81: Dunstan Paelias & Jareth travel to Loudwater, where Brikos Stoneshoulder is unveiling his new statue of "Quinn atop the head of Emerald Dawn" in the town square. From there riding west to Brownstone and consultation with Halvath, then on to the ruins of Zelbross. Paelias tracks the raiders to hidden chambers beneath the ruined Temple of Tyr. Most of the Githyanki cadre prove little threat, but they are opening a portal to their home realm that will allow an army through. Fighting to close the portal, Paelias is scorched by the magic of the Gish sword-mage leading the squadron, but Jareth gets him back on his feet and the group are at last victorious, killing the Gish and closing the portal. Too bad there's no treasure... except a big pile of everburning torches.

The trio return to Loudwater that night with Bags of Holding bulging...


By Githyanki: 1 Needle of the Regent, Valdrin the Wanderer, was killed by Githyanki two days previously.
By PCs:
10 Githyanki Warriors
3 Githyanki Corsairs, "arrr"
1 Githyanki Mindslicer
1 Githyanki Gish
1 Mulch Roper
3 Redspawn Firebelchers

Combat XP 16300/3=5466 each
Level 13 Major Quest - close Githyanki Portal: 800 each
Total: 6266+ 94,600=100866
Need 99,000 for 18th level
Need 119,000 for 19th level

Monday, 24 February 2014

Session 61 - Hall of Echoing Screams 3/6/1481 DR

Dunstan's Account
The group had just entered the secret passage towards the Dwarven catacombs and already, Dunstan’s boots were stomping almost joyfully. That feeling of re-connecting with his kind after such a long time away from it never failed to lift his spirits. Something to be likened to a good fresh mead after crossing a desert in full metal plate. Also, he was so happy that such a precious landmark had been unearthed. Imagine this: The shrine of Moradin and the final resting place of so many legendary and noble Dwarves… A few hours ago, he was not even aware of it, and now he was exploring its corridors, smelling the unrivalled fragrance of a well-built cave, hearing his friends’ clunking armours echoing on the carved stone of the arched walls, avidly reading the illustrious Dwarven names engraved in the plates in front of each cells…He could almost hear the clamours of his ancestors in an imaginary banquet, the laughter of the plump Dwarven Ladies and the shock of the wooden cups full of ale and mead... and it brought joy to his heart! If he was not walking in front of the group, his friends could have seen his beard uncovering a huge grin. But they probably have guessed his joyous humour anyway: he was walking with a spring in his step like if a spell of anti-gravity had been cast on his heavy armour.
Alturnus had undertaken a titanic task with the restoration of this site and he was carrying it out with a commendable constance and an heroic sense of purpose. After many plundering raids by the Zhents, the tombs were in tatters. And Alturnus took upon himself to come here day after day to reassemble the bones of the dead, draw one more time the shrouds on the corpses, salvage the personal items discarded by the Zhents and their exclusive greed for gold, and recover the dignity that the deceased earned many centuries ago.
Reflecting upon this, Dunstan’s mood progressively took a slightly graver (no pun) tone. His enthusiasm felt suddenly almost out of place and he found himself compelled to walk more demurely, which for a fully armoured Dwarf of his corpulence and demeanour, was almost an impossible feat.
The oppressing atmosphere seemed to take its toll on his companions as well. Paelias and Jareth’s banter was shockingly low-key and devoid of hedonistic innuendos and the oppressive silence of the place was slowly enveloping them all…
At that stage, Dunstan remembered the quick words muttered in confidence by the boat-dwarf Glasur’s buxom wife Freyja, right before they left the town council:
- “I have seen some strange things in the catacombs… some people appear there, but they are not among the living… Speak to no one that I told you this!”.
After diving deeper into the catacombs, the group finally arrived at the final grotto: the shrine of Moradin...
The place was very simple. The most luxurious inserts had already been stripped from the forge and from the anvil-shaped altar, and the ceremonial hammer that should be expected in such a place was, unsurprisingly, missing. But thanks to Alturnus’ devotion, large lumps of coal were glowing with a fierce amber in the forge, perpetuating the symbol of the omnipresence of Moradin. Finally, a gaping crack was visible at the back of the grotto, presumably where the mysterious kidnappers were coming from, in order to perpetrate their nightly raids...
Dunstan stopped at the threshold of the carved grotto, a bizarre feeling preventing him to walk any further. After all these years of braving dangers, the rest of his companions stopped instantly behind him, on alert for any signs of a threat… but to no avail.
Oblivious to being the only one able to observe this, Dunstan distinguished an ethereal shape forming in front of the Altar of Moradin. Barely visible at first, the smoky shape gained in density to eventually incarnate a very pale and semi-transparent female elder Dwarf, bowed towards the altar. In spite of the fainting colours, the Mythril and Ithildin threads were clearly shining in the embroideries of her robe, and a crown positioned on her white abundant hair was glistening with gems of a size that Dunstan had only seen in precious tapestries picturing the royals of Ammarindar.
Always prudent, he chose to put a knee in the dusty floor of the grotto and lay his hammer horizontally in front of him, the handle placed in the direction of his shield-hand to show his peaceful intentions.
The crowned apparition stood up and turned around towards Dunstan and his unsuspecting companions. Her face was beautiful in spite of the age, with delicate crows-feet framing her piercing blue eyes. As all elders, she sported a tightly-braided white beard hanging well below her belt, ornate with platinum and mythril rings alternated with precious pearls. She looked at him with a soul-embracing gaze and smiled gently, before declaring:
- “I am Helmma, Queen of the Dwarven realm of Ammarindar.”
Recognising the legendary figure, Dunstan promptly planted his other knee in the ground, removed his helmet and bowed his head.
- “My name is Dunstan of the Ironforge clan, and these are my friends and companions of adventure, from the Northwood manor. I am at your service, Queen Helmma!” he nervously declaimed.
- “Your friends cannot see me, I am afraid, nor they can hear me. For I have a mission for you, young Dunstan, and for you only.”
- “I will do my best to grant any request your royal highness might have!” replied Dunstan.
- “I have been trapped in the plane of the living and I cannot join my kind in the great hall of Moradin. All this because my sceptre was stolen: The Sceptre of Ammarindar !”
She marked a brief pause before continuing:
- “Bring me back my Sceptre and you will free me from this curse. So I shall at last rest in peace...”
The spectral figure smiled kindly again but her eyes couldn’t hide a deep sadness, before vanishing, leaving the room with only the glow of ambers in the forge and a stunned Dunstan on his knees.
-”What is that circus and lonely muttering, Dunstan? Are you getting senile already?” joked Paelias.
-”As long as he is not peeing all over the place…” replied Lirael, referring to a previous ‘incident’ in a different shrine.

Grimlocks and Mindflayers and Umber Hulks and Minotaurs...

When the axe stings, when the dire wolf bites, when I'm feeling dazed..
I simply remember my favourite things... 
And then I don't feel so Bloodied...

Quinn has necrotic flu left over from the Death Cyst, and retires to the local tavern for succour.
Group meets Town Council, Investigations in Adakmi questioning Stentorio Rivers, and others about the disappearances (to 3pm); Alturnus leads them into the Vaults of Splendarmorrn where Dunstan meets Queen Helmma's ghost at the Shrine of Moradin, she asks him to find the Sceptre of Ammarindar and place it on the altar shrine: 440 XP each
The Hall of Echoing Screams (total XP)
Feral Minotaur, level 16 elite brute - 2800
Umber Hulk, level 12 elite soldier - 1400
2 Mind Flayer Infiltrators, level 14 lurker - 2000
5 Grimlock Berserkers, level 13 brute - 4000
Commander Zaknoril, drow blademaster, level 13 elite skirmisher - 1600
Total: 11800/5= 2360 each
Watch Sergeant Marcus Dewarl killed by a mindflayer mind blast during the fight.
Return the Sceptre of Ammarindar to the Altar of Moradin, L21 minor quest: 800 XP each
Total: 3600+91000=94,600
Need 99,000 for 18th level

Monday, 10 February 2014

Session 60 - Welcome Home. 31/6/1480-3/6/1481 DR

1480 DR

Shar brings the Heroes of Loudwater to her Pillars of Night, in a throne room once belonging to the deceased Arch-Devil Bel. Selune restores Sir Jorah to life, and blesses Pealias' amulet. The sister goddesses speak of a threat posed by Orcus and Szass Tamm of Thay, a prophecy by Lady Saharel of Spellgard that Szass Tamm will destroy them both. Shar tells Quinn that she will soon call upon Quinn to marshall her armies against Orcus in the Shadowfell. She will have great power, but never again know mortal love.
21/7/1480: The Heroes of Loudwater arrive back in the Gray Vale, interrupting Boris & Chera' wedding ceremony conducted by Halvath the Green Regent. There is much rejoicing.
Anwyn Pyro takes over management of the newly renamed Green Regent Tavern in Loudwater. Marsh Laval departs for Llorkh.
News - Sword Coast - The Luskan/Thayan threat to Neverwinter has been defeated by an alliance of heroes, at the cost of Vajra Safhar, Archmage of Waterdeep. Liana Arunsen becomes the new Archmage of Waterdeep.
Netheril and Thay are officially at war; a Netherese Flying Fortress bombards the borders of Thay, disrupting the ‘Shadow Road’ by which Thayan forces move through the Shadowfell to the Sword Coast.

News - Elturel – Undead host of ghouls and zombies issuing forth from Fort Morninglord  while the army of Elturgard besieged Iriaebor were successfully driven back by a hastily assembled Elturgard force led by the Paladin Princess Shaedra Kyatt, three of the Twelve Peers of Elturel, and the priests of Torm and Amaunator. King Pyvim orders the seals on Fort Morninglord strengthened.
Vaasa – In the east the Warlock Knights of Vaasa have bent the knee to a Balroch-Demon of Orcus that now commands Castle Perilous, ancient abode of the Orcus-Lich Zhengyi. Vaasa is now allied with Thay.
23/8/1480 DR - The Palace has today announced that Queen Esmerelda has today given birth to twins, a healthy boy and girl. The Palace has refused to comment on speculation regarding the hairiness of the infants' feet.
Esme names her children. Boy : Quartermain Tirios Marsh. Girl : Lirael Valeris Arya 

News - The Zhent-infested city of Iriaebor has surrendered to Elturgard. Elturgard turns her attention to the gnolls of Reaching Wood, while Cormyr besieges Darkhold, using powerful Ritual magic (similar to Forbiddance) to block the Zhents’ escape via the Darkhold Portal.
Lirael and Quinn (re)introduce Dolf Dragonheart and Amara deTrevani at a Northwood Manor dinner party. They successfully hit it off.

Pealias and Lirael's brother Arvis head east for Evereska, meeting the Eladrin and returning to Loudwater through the snows of winter, shortly before New Year's Day. Arvis is maturing into a capable Ranger.

1481 DR 

Hallomak Stromm and Archmage Liana Arunsen attended the funeral of an old wizard in Shadowdale.
Darkhold has fallen to Cormyr; some senior Zhents had already fled, probably east to the main Zhent lair near Westgate. Elturgard is campaigning in the Reaching Wood against the gnolls.
News from Elturgard – King Pyvim Kyatt has concluded a successful campaign against the Gnolls of Reaching Wood. The Twelve Peers of Elturel distinguished themselves in the campaign, slaying the Gnoll Warchief Gullclaw and his main cohorts, avenging Gullclaw's 1479 DR attack on Elturgard.
An earthquake opens rift to ancient dwarven halls of Splendarmorrn behind the Shining Falls, Adakmi.  A patrol sent to investigate does not return. Soon the disappearances start…  Adakmi send an emissary west to Loudwater seeking aid, the dwarf river pilot Glasur seeks out Lirael & co.  
1/6/81: Glasur reaches Northwood Manor as Anywn Pyro is helping her sister Lirael try on her wedding dress - wedding to Jorah Blackthorn scheduled for midsummer's day, 21/6/1481 DR.  
2/6/81: Lirael, Glasur and co travel east,spend the night with Lady Amara & Dolf Dragonheart at Castle DeTrevani.
3/6/81: Group reaches Adakmi.

The Proposal - by Kimberly Pauley -Lirael account M8 1480 DR

It had been some days now since they had returned from the depths but things had not yet returned to normal, at least not for Lirael. She felt unsettled, not least of which because of the strangeness that had come between her and Jorah. She had caught him conferring more than once with Quinn and strange glances had been passing between the two of them. It worried her. Was there something amiss? Jorah had been so quiet, even more so than usual, and almost distant. Had the Underdark – and death, however fleeting – changed him somehow? Changed them?

She had been wondering herself how to broach a sensitive subject with him. She needed him at the Manor – safe, where she did not have to worry after him. Too often in the depths of that hellish place she had found herself distracted (OOC: and rolling 2s!) on the battlefield, looking for him instead of concentrating on the battle. He was a brave fighter, no question, but his skills were so well-suited to being Steward. At Northwood, where he would be relatively safe. With all the news from around the Vale, things were not bound to stay quiet long. What if next time…she could not bear to think about it.

It was a conversation she was dreading, but Quinn or someone always seemed to be around. She had not had any time alone with Jorah since their return. Was he avoiding her? She was almost desperate enough to ask the Bard. Almost.

Then Jorah himself came to her. “Would you walk with me, Lirael?” he asked.

“Of course,” she said. She put aside her knitting and followed him into the quiet of the wood. It felt good to be out under the early evening sky and the air was crisp and cool. Everything felt so clean after being below.

They were silent as they made their way to a secluded clearing – a spot they had once snuck away to have a picnic in before the Underdark. Jorah led her to the center of it, where the new grass was soft underfoot. Without a word he dropped to one knee, then fumbled in his tunic to pull out a jeweled arrow.

“It’s for you,” he mumbled and then something about Quinn and advice and hoping she liked it. She barely had time for an exclamation of surprise before he was holding something else up to her with a shaking hand. It was an exquisitely delicate silver ring of two unicorns, touching horns. The moonlight seemed to kiss it with a ghostly radiance.

“Oh,” she said.

The words rushed out of him, out of quiet, taciturn Jorah. He spoke of fear and longing and death, of hope and life and longing, of building a future. His words finally stumbled to a stop with “I fear I cannot stay at Northwood if you tell me no; I have no heart for anything without you.”

Lirael took his hand in her own, entwining her fingers with his and closing them around the ring. She drew him up to his feet. “Stay,” she said. “Stay here with me, always.”

Lirael's wedding headdress
Lirael's wedding dress
Wedding Dress by nolwen
Lirael's bridesmaid dresses (Quinn, Arya, Anwyn as Matron of Honour)

Jareth - by Nick 1/6/1481 DR
Jareth reflected on the past year’s happenings as he strode between Northwood Manor and the barracks. Although there appeared to be no direct threat to the Wardship the recent news, from all sides, had been troubling. Still, there was plenty to look forward to in the coming season’s inevitable battles!

Reaching the tall double doors of the barracks, and acknowledging the sentries’ salutes, he looked up at the imposing two-storey building. With a training hall, small library and classrooms downstairs and three dormitories upstairs, one for each of the three watches, the whole place was always alive with two watches of eager recruits, training and learning within its confines. It was in to one of these three dormitories that he walked now, hefting the satchel he carried over one shoulder. As he entered, the sound of jovial banter subsided and the eleven resting guardsmen of the Blue watch leapt to their feet. “I have an announcement to make - come with me into the training hall,” he said, before turning on his heel and walking through into the training arena. The sounds of sparring subsided as he entered, with the others, forming up into a semicircle as the others put down their training weaponry to join them.

“I’m sure some of you will have heard about the recent disappearances in Adakmi,” he began. “The Warden has decided to send forth a party to investigate. I’ll need two volunteers.”
A sea of arms shot up.
“Marcus, and Feris,” he said, naming one of the watch sergeants and a lance-corporal after scanning the room. “Step forward…”

“I’ve heard the rumours - some of you have been wondering why we bother to train your minds as well as your bodies. What need have you of becoming lettered, why study the battles of times passed? Certainly, they have their lessons to teach - but filtered through the words of historians seasons later, who were never present - not quick with the essence of battle! That is why I am going to give you these.”

He reached into the bag, producing a pair of leather-bound books and giving one to each of the slightly confused-looking guards.

“Before your first missions, each of you will receive one of these. In them, you will record your victories for posterity. Leave out no detail - for there is no shame in any defeat but those we cannot learn from. When you return, the bards will have the richest sources of raw material with which to celebrate your glories! In time I hope we will amass the land’s greatest library of warfare, for this guard force is the start of something great, and I would not have that gathering of knowledge wasted! For those who fall, you will have a mighty bargaining piece to barter for entry into the Foehammer’s halls! For glory! For Tempus!”

The room dissolved into cheering and applause.

When the tumult had subsided, Jareth turned to his two chosen volunteers. “I’ll meet you in the arming room in a half-bell. There is much to prepare…

400 Meeting the Goddesses
400 Meeting with Lady Moonfire
400 Arya & Rylgoth, visit to Graywood elves
600 Paelias' quest to Evereska with Arvis
800 Lirael marriage proposal account
400 Jareth account
Need 99,000 for 18th level