Nerath Reborn

Here and There
Game 21 : 2-11-10-16

The group moves south, As they move down the hallway, they come upon double doors…
Blood stains the floor here. Crimson trails run from a set of double doors in the east down the corridor and into a door to the west. A sudden chill washes over you, The cold seems to penetrate your body, causing an involuntary shiver. Three spectral figures appears faintly before you, rising from the bloodstains. The ghostly figures raise their hands in greeting.

The figures are the ghostly remnants of three adventurers who died trying to destroy Baphomet’s demonic influence from this place.

The figures ask what the group is doing in the Well of Demons. As the discussion progresses, the group attempts to get information from the ghosts that might be useful to them. The ghosts are suspicious and their doubts need to be quelled before. As the group assures the ghosts of their good intentions, the ghosts informs the group of several things:

  • This place is the Proving Grounds, a testing place for worshippers of the demon lord Baphomet. The group must find four items: a knife, a mask, a bell and a book. They must place each of those items on one of the four circles of runes found in this complex. The items must be placed on the runes at the exact same time.
  • Three items are held within chambers built to test Baphomet’s worshippers. You can find these chambers to the north, west and south of where they now stand, through these eastern double doors and then another set of double doors that lead to the west.
  • The fourth item, the book, is on an altar in a small shrine to the east.
  • To the east of the Proving Grounds is the Inner Sanctum. Its door opens only when the proper ceremony is completed. The items used for the ceremony disappear if you try to remove them from the Well of Demons, and upon completion of the ceremony, they return to their former locations.

Once the ghost have imparted this information, they wish the group well and fade, finally at rest.

Slightly perturbed, the group moves west, following the blood stains. The stains end in an empty room to the south. The group continues west and comes upon a corridor heading north ending in a set of double doors. Assuming that the doors lead to one of the tests the ghosts spoke of, the group opens the doors.

The door opens to reveal a ten-foot wide room. Jet-black curtains hang from hooks set into the ceiling, forming a wall ahead of the group. The group very cautiously approaches the curtains, attempting to determine what lies beyond. Eventually, the group enters the room behind the curtains.

The room is quite large and turns to the west out of sight. The room is filled with many mirrored columns. As the group advances, they discover that the columns are traps, attacking with deadly force those reflected within or teleporting them around the room. As group attempts to deal with these traps, they are teleported around the room and split up. Several are severally wounded until Aurum manages to get to the western end of the room, behind another set if curtain. Here, he finds an altar with a mask upon it but also 2 skeletons that attack him. By this time, the rest of the group has arrived and they dispatch the skeletons.

Healing up, the group manages to exit the room with minimal trouble as they have guessed that closing ones eyes make you immune tothe effects of the traps.

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Where there's a boar, there's a way
game 20; 2011-09-18

Once the group has calmed down from their problems among themselves, they move south down a long hallway. They come upon a set of double doors on the west wall. They open the doors and find themselves at the northern end of a large room:

The walls of this chamber are covered with faded murals that depict minotaurs in combat. The images show minotaurs fighting each other, as well as battling demons, dwarves, humans, and dragonborn. In all the pictures, the minotaurs lack weapons and armor.

A barrier of hay bales divides the room. In the northern portion of the room, a large boar is chained to the floor inside a pen. Arrows jut from the trapped creature, and the floor around it is covered with splatters of blood. Hyenas encircle the pen, trying to bite the board. One by one, the hyenas become aware of the group’s presence and turn their attention in their direction.

In the southern end of the room, behind the bales are four gnolls with bows. As the group advances, the gnoll start shooting at the with their bows. As the rest of group engages the hyenas, Urzula attempts to calm the boar. His attempts are foiled by the constant attacks from the hyenas and he too must participate in the fight.

As the group dispatch the hyenas, the sniping from the gnolls begins to take its toll and Gurdil is nearly killed by an arrow through the chest. The group, having killed all the hyenas, move towards the gnolls.

Urzula sets fire to the hay bales and the rest of group move over the barricade and attack the gnolls. After a fierce battle, they manage to dispatch the gnolls. Urzula returns to the boar and attempts to calm it down but the poor beast is panicked by the smoke and fire. It pull the pin out of the ground and attacks the group in a berzerk frenzy. The group retreats out of the room and closes the door, locking the boar in the room.

Later, they return to the hall only to discover that the boar bashed one of the door and fled.

The group exists the large hall from the south through a second set of dorrs heading west. They find, further up the corridor, another set of doors. As the doors opne up into a corridor heading south.

The corridor, hewn from black rock, connects three different areas. Ahead, the passage opens into a chamber, while along the eastern wall, closed doors can be seen.The doors are made of black wood, and each has an iron knocker carved with the shape of a minotaur’s snarling face. One is a single door, while the other is a set of double doors. The flagstones on the floor each have the symbol of a bull’s horned skull worked into them in blood red stone.

Urzula goes ahead to scout the chamber ahead. As he peeks around the corner, he sees two Tielfings sitting at a table. He signals the group and they move forward to engage the tieflings. As the group rushes the 2 tieflings, they manage to kill one of them but the remaining tieflings disappear into thin air.

At this point, the group hears a sound like a whip-crack from behind the double doors. The double doors slam open and demon steps out and attacks the group. Then, the single door open and a gnoll steps out also and attack the group.

As the chaos of surprise attack overwhelms the group, they attempt to respond. They fight valiantly and manage to dispatch the two new attackers with difficulty. The group searches the area for the last tiefling but cannot locate him.

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Just kill the darn thing!
Game 19: 2011-07-02

The group heads for the Well of Demons. When they reach the area indicated on the map, they find a large room with several columns and a pit in the floor off to a side. As the group enters cautiously, a creature with long arms hanging off the ceiling attacks Aurum. Gurdil, in an attempt to free Aurum from the creatures Choke attack, hits Aurum as the creature uses the later as a shield.

As the group maneuvers to defend against another of the creatures, the floor under Urzulaerupts with many tentacles as a Phalagar attacks the group.

As the Phalagar keeps the group pinned with its tentacles, two chokers and a ghoul attack. Urzula manages to hit the Phalagar with a massive attack and Ashafinishes it. Once the distraction of the Phalagr is gone, the group easily dispatches the Ghoul and one of the chokers. However, the second choker almost manages to escape until the group hunts it down in extremis.

The group decides to move west, cautiously opening a set of doors. They find a long corridor filled with the stench of rotting food. As the advance, they find a side room with several gnolls in it. As the battle erupts, the group is attacked by several hyenas from further down the corridor. While the group fights the gnolls, they disagree on how to deal with the hyenas. Urzula orders the group to leave the hyenas alone and fethces a corpse to feed them. Gurdil beset by the hyenas, ignores the her orders and defends himself. Urzula is so upset with this that she strikes him but misses.

Gurdil, upset at this, hits back and orders her to attack the hyenas. Urzula, intimidated by Gurdil, obeys, much to her chagrin.

In the end, Urzula manages to calm one of the four hyenas that attacked but Asha destroys it, saying that it is too dangerous to live.

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Kill it!
Game 18: 2011-05-22

The group decides to fall back with the freed prisoners to the 7 Pillared Hall. They go to the Halfmoon Inn and see to the care of the prisoners. Bark gives each prisoner 2 GP.

The next day, the group returns to the Horned Hold, only to find it empty, the few creatures that were left long gone. As they return to the Halfmoon Inn, a crowd has gathered to see the freed prisoners and to celebrate their liberation.

At that time, the group is approached by Charrak, a kobold beggar, who delivers an urgent message to the group:

_Your actions against the duegar are commendable, I am in a position of power in the evil organization behind the duegar’s actions, and I wish to help you defeat my comrades. I have been seeking a way out of the organization, and I believe that you can help me. Follow the attached map so we can meet in secret.
_

The group, while suspecting a trap, decides to go ahead and meet the source of the message. They follow the map into the Labyrinth and come to a large cave. In the cave, the groupis attacked by 2 snipers from a large ledge around the top of the cave and a large metallic construct, a Bronze Warder.

While the group handles one of the snipers relatively quickly, they need to gang up on the Warder to kill it. It takes many attacks on the Warder to destroy it, all the time being shot at by the remaining sniper.

Once the group finally manages to destroy the warder, they finish of the last sniper. Both sniper turn out to be thieflings and on one of them, the group finds 3 scroll.

The first scroll reads:

I don’t care how you do it, but deal with these adventurers. Take one of the Bronze Warders if you must. If they remain in the Labyrinth, they could disrupt my plans. Once you’ve dealt with them, deliver their bodies to our gnoll friends, along with the enclosed scroll.
Paldemar.

The second scroll reads:

To Maldrick Scarmaker, Exalted Chieftain of the Blackfangs and Chosen of Yeenoghu: Paldemar offers you the corpses of these champions as a gift of ongoing friendship, that our arrangement might continue to be mutually beneficial. May you savour their blood.
Your friend and ally, Paldemar.

The final scroll bears a map of the Labyrinth that has directions to the Well of Demons, which is circled and marked with the word “Blackfangs”.

The group returns to the Halfmoon Inn and rests. They clean the robes of the thieflings, in case they can make use of them.

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Grandstanding never pays.
Game 17: 2011-03-26

The group listens to a door leading further away from the bridges. They hear rough voices speaking in a guttural language. A rumbling voice interrupts the speakers; the first speaker laughs harshly and then resumes talking. The group discusses tactics. they decide to draw the enemy out of the room.

Asha Greyjoy opens the door, casts a spell and retreats back down the hallway. An ogre rushes out and follows Asha only to be ambushed down the hall. However, the ambushers are then caught between the Orcs who remained in the room and the ogre. The orcs begin to throw axes at the group while the ogre is slain. One of the orcs again attempts to flee and is caught in extremis by Bark

The group explores the room and finds that this room connects to a large tunnel leading away from the complex. They leave that door unlocked in case they need to flee. They then cross the hall and charge into the room where the orc was rying to flee. Inside they see:

Two large fireplaces-both filled with roaring flames-stand on either side of the room. A short staircase leads up to an area furnished as a bedroom. The stairs are flanked by statues of leering gargoyle-like monsters.

Several grim-looking dwarves with grey skin and bristling, orange beards glare at you. One stands at the top of the stairs, wearing armor of black plate and carrying an enormous maul.

“So, you think to challenge the Grimmerzhul?” he snarls. “It’s your last mistake, fools! I think I’ll sells the lot of you to mind flayers and count my gold while they feast of your brains.”

During the ensuing battle, Bark gets pushed into one of the fireplaces, where he is severally burned. Aurum charges a duegar Theurge, smiting him with Paladin’s judgement, killing him.

The guards, two duegar shock troopers, use their power to enlarge themselves and hold the doors against the group. The group defeatsthem nonetheless. The duegar leader, standing by a fireplace, turns to mock the group. It turns out to be a fatal mistake because he is stuck down before he manages to duck into the fireplace.

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The '20's are here today!
Game 16: 2011-02-27

The group moves forward slowly down the hall where the last had fled. They examine the rooms and, finally, decide to enter what they believe to be a smithy by a secondary door. In doing so, they catch the orcs and duegar in the forge by surprise.

As the group charges in, they overwhelm the defender. However, 2 duegar scouts manage to become invisible before the players know they are present. As Bark charges an enemy, the duegar scouts appear and attack him. Asha Greyjoy, in full form, finishes off the head smith (rolls 3 20s in a row). As his allies fall, a duegar scout attempts to flee but he is killed in the hallway as the group catches up to him.

The group decides to block the door heading into the rest of the complex and crosses the bridge across the chasm. At the other end, they pick the lock of an obviously unused door and discover an abandoned room behind it. They listen to all the doors and decide to rush several duegar guarding the other bridge over the chasm.

They rush in and quickly dispatch most of the defennders. However, on the the connecting doors open and a duegar Theurge enters, casting vile fumes which blinds all except for Bark and Asha.

As the groups fights back, the Theurge knocks almost everyone prone with brimstone hail. bark succeeds in finally dispatching the Theurge, securing the hall.

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Give the ogre another beer!
Game 15: 2011-02-06

Returning from their assault on the Chamber of the Eyes, the group goes to the Halfmoon Inn. There, they discuss the secret slave trading of the Duegar. Rendil says it’s likely the Mages of Saruun know about it but their enforcer, the ogre Brugg, would not allow the group to simply attack the dueagar.

Rendil proposes that the group somehow distract Brugg long enough for them to get what they need from the duegar. The group decides to arrange for Brugg to be occupied at the Inn and gives enough money to Rendil to keep Brugg drinking for a good long time.

Indeed, once Brugg arrives at the Inn, he goes on a drinking binge paid for by his ‘secret admirers’. The group head for the duegar’s outpost, confidant that Brugg will be out of play for a good long time.

The group enters the duegar outpost, pretending to want to buy food. The duegar inform them in broken common that they do not sell food. Gurdil, attempting to be diplomatic, comes cross as a retarded three year old and, eventually, makes them mad. As the dueagar attack, the group are surprised by a duegar theurge, who uses his powers to great effect. Nonetheless, the group overpowers the duegar and kill them all, including the theurge as he tries to flee.

The group search the outpost, the group finds a rough map of the Labyrinth that includes the location of the Horned Hold, the duegar stronghold in the area. They also find a note from Murkelmor instructing the Theurge to purchases additional provisions to feed their new ‘merchandise’.

The group barricades the outpost from within and leave out the back entrance so as to arrive int eh Seven Pillared Hall from another direction. As they return to the Inn. Brugg is still drinking.

The get some rest and, in the morning, they head out for the Horned Hall, in search of their missing friends.

The group approaches the Hall’s main gates.

_The path winds along the edge of a deep chasm for several hundred feet, rounding a corner to reveal several large bastions clinging to the side of the chasm. Two bridges span the chasm’s depths, linking the bastion together. The path ends at the nearest fortress, where a portcullis blocks the way. A couple of orcs are visible behind the portcullis, keeping watch.
_

The group is spotted by the orc guards. The group is stuck on the wrong side of the portcullis and must try to get through. They rush the portcullis to try a force it open. Aurum uses his breath to reach the orcs, who are now using spears to attack the group through the portcullis. After two attempts, the combined efforts of Aurum, Gurdil and Bark manages to open the portcullis.

As the orcs form a defensive hedge with their spears, the group attacks, overwhelming them quickly. One of the archers flees around the corner and down a hallway. Bark catches up with him and, despite the orc’s cries for help, Bark kills him before any other denizens of the Hold hear.

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Flanking Maneuver
Game 14: 2011-01-16

After the success of the surprise assault via the balcony, the group takes the upper path and open a door into a room with two duegar.

Two fierce-looking dwarves with grey skin and stiff beards of rust-red bristles are here enjoying the warmth of a fire. Seeing the group, they spring to their feet and draw their weapons

The dwarves cry for help as they attack the group. The group piles into the room to attack the dwarves. As the fight progresses, the dwarves allies, a large hobgoblin chieftain and a hobgoblin caster appear. The enemy retreats into the hallway, fighting defensively. The dwarves are the first to fall. Gurdil attacks the hobgoblin chieftain, hitting hit severely, nearly killing him with a single blow. He is easily dispatched by Bark. The caster throws Bark across the room before being killed by the group.

The group explores the corridor, finding the chieftain’s room. In it, they find a letter to the chieftain, Krand. The letter, written in common, is a contract to purchase the Caravan slaves for 1000gp; it’s signed by Murkelmor Grimmerzhul, dated two days before.

They also find a secret door that brings them into the Chamber of the Eyes from behind the altar. Within the Chamber are 3 hobgolin archers and a Dire wolf. The group surprise the enemy and attack them swiftly. During the battle, Urzula manages to calm the Dire Wolf, who does not participate in the battle. As the two other archers die, the third archer attempts to flee but he is captured by Aurum who intimidates him enough to make him surrender. The group interrogates him and he reveals that the prisoners were sold two days ago to the Grimmerzhul clan.

The group kills the prisoner, no longer needing him.

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On the trail of the Slavers
Game 13: 2010-11-21

The group returns to Winterhaven to find that the cloud that was hanging over the village’s spirit has lifted. The villagers are relieved but seem shaken. They learn that in their absence, the village was attacked by undead rising from the cemetery. The villagers managed to fight off the undead but they lost some friends in the process.

The group returns to see Lord Ernest Padraig with the news that the portal in the Keep has been destroyed. He is indeed pleased and promptly gives them their reward of 250gp. Lord Padraig thanks the group for their efforts and tells them to go rest a while. He informs them that he has more work for them in a little while.

The group returns to the Inn and rests for 2 days before they are summoned by Lord Padraig again. When they meet him, he informs them that he wants to follow up on the Note they gave him.

The possibility of slavers establishing a trade route in the area worries him and, combined with the slaver attack on the group’s caravan (see The adventure begins ), the group is more than ready to follow up on the lead towards the slavers. Lord Padraig promises a payment of 1000gp and will attempt to procure 2 magical items for the group for the completion of this mission.

The group prepares to leave the next day. While they make preparations, Asha Greyjoy finds Allora Tinshell, the daughter of Brendor Tinshell, one of the villagers who fell defending the village from the undead. He gives her the doll he found in the tomb of Ceinwein Keegan, the daughter of Sir Keegan. She has repaired and cleaned it up. She also gives her some money.

As they sit at the Inn, they are approached by Bairwin Wildarson, the proprietor of Bairwin’s Grend Shoppe, who informs them that he needs a discrete group for a trade mission in Thunderspire. He has heard that they are heading there and enquires if they would be willing to act as his representative while they are there. Once the group assures him of their discretion, he gives them a small wooden box and asks that they go to the Seven PIllard Hall, under Thunderspire mountain, and seek out a man named Gendar. They are to trade the box for a bag of stones. It is important that the group does not use Barwain’s name with anyone save Gendar. The group agrees. Bairwin will give them 450gp for the mission upon their return.

The next morning, the group leaves Winterhaven, heading east. According to Lord Padraig, they should find the dwarves mentioned in the note under Thunderspire mountain, probably somewhere in the Seven Pillared Hall.

They travel for two days without incident and eventually reach the valley leading the foot of the Thunderspire mountain. They follow the path from the Trade Road to the gates of Thunderspire mountain. The ruins under the mountain are collectively called the Labyrinth and somewhere within those ruins lies the Seven Pillared Hall. The group enters the tunnels and follow the path.

The path splinters into numerous passages a short way into the mountain. A wide tunnel with several smaller tunnels leading off of it seems to cut a path towards the mountain’s deep center. As the group makes their way, they notice light spilling from a partially open door a short way down one of the side passages.

As the group walk pass, they hear guttural laughter . A rough voice, speaking Common, says :“You’re ours now, halfling. We’ll easily get ten gold for you!” Another voice responds: “That’s a shame, ‘cause I’m worth twenty. I’ll buy myself if you let me go.”

The group, hearing this, approach the side passage and begin to maneuver to see what is going on. They sneak up and attack the hobgoblin within the chamber who have capture a halfling. After a brief battle, they slay all the hobgoblins and free a halfling, who introduces himself as Rendil Halfmoon.

Rendil is grateful for their rescue and he invites them to the only Inn in the Seven Pillared Hall. The group, happy to have found a guide, agree.

They head off and soon reach the Hall. As they head into the large cavern, they are approached by a large orge. Rendel tells them to remain calm and to say as little as possible. Brugg, the ogre, gruffly tells them that the can stay in the Hall but they had better not make trouble. Otherwise, HE will deal with them.

As Brugg heads off, Rendil give them quick pointers on the Hall and leads them to the Inn. There, the group meets Erra Halfmoon, Rendil’s aunt, who runs the Inn. She greats them warmly as Rendil loudly announces that the group saved him from attackers.

The group settle in and then heads for Gendar’s shop, Gendar’s Curios and Relics. There they meet Gendar, a happy-go-lucky drow who makes the trade within moments of the group identifying why they are there. The group returns to the Inn and rests.

The next day Rendil tells them where to find the Chamber of Eyes where the Reavers have made their base. He leads the group to the Dragon Door in the eastern wall of the Seven Pillared Hall. Once there, he instructs them how to travel to the Chamber.

The group quickly travels to the Chamber of Eyes by following Rendil’s instructions.

Once they come to the door described by Rendil, the group approaches cautiously. They see a gate overlooked by a balcony. Discreetly scouting the location, the group climbs on the balcony to discover that the door leading from the balcony into the hideout is not locked. Most of the group climbs up on the balcony and manage to surprise the guards in the room behind the gate, quickly dispatching them before they can raise the alarm.

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The Grand Finale....for now.
Game 12: 2010-11-13

The group now goes to the stairways leading down. They enter a large hall, obviously a religious building.

Crimson streams trail across the floor and terminate at a grate surrounding a hole in the floor of this shadowy cathedral. Blue green light emanates from crystal columns. A dais along the eastern wall appears to supply the blood. A human in dark robes stands there, knife raised high, singing the praises of the demon lord Orcus! A tattoo of a ram’s skull covers the man’s face

A soon as the battle begins, the group tries to flank to their left, using a side door of the vestibule. The berserkers charge up the main door while the vampire spawn and the Dark Creeper all head towards the group on the left side.

The berserkers manage to surround Bark in the entry hall and render him unconscious. Meanwhile the priest come in behind the berserkers to support their flank by boosting them and cursing Gurdil. The group manages to kill the berserkers and then gangs up on the priest, finally killing him.

Patching their wounds, the group climbs down the chains that leads into the hole. They discover the Shadow Rift in a large room with a lage pool of blood int eh center of the room. They manage to surprise the people present but their advantage is short lived.

They quickly dispatch 2 skeleton warriors but Kalarel teleports to a magic circle which boost his power and renders him difficult to attack. While they redeploy to attack him in the circle, a wight uses his powers to immobilize and attack the group from across the hall and the Thing in the portal behind the magic circle attack any who venture to close. The group, caught between Kalarel and the wight, are hard pressed to defeat either. Finally, the group manages to defeat the wight and concentrate on Kalarel. Even then, he is difficult to defeat. Only when, in his arrogance, he steps out of the circle do they manage to defeat him.

Their joy is short lived as whatever it is behind the portal grabs the unconscious Kalarel, dragging him Beyond. As the chill of the presence of the Thing fades, the group realized that the hall is near collapse as the magic powers that kept it erect fades. They hurry to escape the hall and the cathedral above as both collapse in a long slow rumble that shake the Keep to its very core. Orcus must have decided the Portal would be of no further use to him.

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